I once had a friend who was scared of buttons (koumpounophobia). Not something I ever teased her about: I have a fear of crumbs (and there’s no official name for that!). She didn’t mind chocolate buttons, nor the comedy character in the Cinderella pantomime. It was strictly a clothing fastener-related phobia.
According to the ever reliable Wikipedia “The size of the button depends on its use”. Surely not! Indeed, “The American National Button Society (NBS) has its own button sizing system which divides button sizes into ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’.” Radical.
Still, there’s nothing worse than painstakingly sewing a whole row of buttons, only to realise they’re too big to fit through the button hole. I generally try to avoid sewing buttons at all (isn’t that what mothers are for?) but when a boring black button mysteriously disappeared from my raincoat, I decided to take up the challenge for my fifth blue thing.
It also gave me an excuse for a trip to Liberty in London. It’s the shop that is for me what Tiffany’s was for Holly Golightly. I could happily spend all day just riding up and down in those stunningly carved, wood panelled lifts.
It has the most superior haberdashery department I know, not least its fantastic button selection. Luckily I was wearing my raincoat on the day of my visit, so could be sure to get the right size.
I picked some Mondrian-esque grids, perhaps inspired from an exhibition I saw over the summer.
And after a slight battle to remove the other two black buttons (how one became unattached, I will never understand) and another battle to thread the needle (a camel might have been easier), I carefully sewed the first button.
Did I mention that my sewing skills aren’t up to much? Despite seeing how cute the new blue button looks, I ran out of steam to start another, so buttons two and three are back in their bag, and will have to wait for a rainy day!
Tools / special requirements: Needle and thread, sharp scissors, a steady hand.
Time taken: an embarrassingly long time and the task is not yet complete!
The Buttons are two small islands lying 0.2 nautical miles northwest of Galindez Island in the Argentine Islands, Wilhelm Archipelago.
(1-10): Currently about 1: this may rise when the task is finished!